TORONTO, September 6, 2018 – Artistico and Royal Intrigue, winners of the first two legs of Woodbine’s Turf Endurance Series, are tied with 10 points each at the top of the standings and will square off here Sunday in the penultimate test over 1 5/8-miles.
The Turf Endurance Series, open to horses who have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less or are entered to be claimed for $45,000, will conclude here October 14 with a 2 ¼-mile marathon which is the longest race of the meeting.
Purses for each event are $50,000 and the overall series leader will earn a bonus of $25,000 for his owner and $15,000 for his trainer. Points are awarded on a 10-7-5-3-2 basis for the top five finishers in each race. Horses finishing lower than fifth will earn 1 point.
Artistico, owned by 4U Thoroughbred Racing Stable Inc. and trained by Sylvain Pion, was a $20.80 upsetter in the series opener here at 1 3/8-miles on July 1.
The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred was not pointed to the second leg, however, as he opted for two first-level allowance races with purses of more than $70,000.
“I went for the bigger money for him, that’s all,” said Pion, who watched Artistico perform respectably on each occasion when second on July 22 and sixth, defeated just three lengths, on September 1.
Sunday’s distance will be new territory for Artistico.
“It’s a little bit of a concern, but it seems like he can handle the distance,” said Pion. “It’s the horses I’m not sure he can handle. Royal Intrigue’s a good horse.”
Royal Intrigue did not contest the first leg of the series but joined in with a going-away win at 1 ½ miles on Aug. 5. His $22.80 win payoff matched Artistico’s.
Tesseron, winner of the inaugural Turf Endurance Series last season, began his title defence with a solid second behind Artistico but then came up short when seventh as the lukewarm choice in the second leg. He is third on the table with eight points.
Lookin At Bravo banked seven points when second behind Royal Intrigue while Sine Metu has six points based on a pair of fourth-place finishes. Twentytwentycrest has one point based on his ninth-place run in leg two.
Making their series debuts will be Camp Creek and Itstartswithadrink. Camp Creek winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Stakes, will be making his first start with a claiming price. Artistico is the only other entrant in for the tag.
The third leg of the Turf Endurance Series will go as Race 9 on Sunday’s 10-race card. First post is 1 p.m.
FIELD FOR LEG 3 OF THE TURF ENDURANCE SERIES
1/Artistico/Jesse Campbell/Sylvain Pion
2/Lookin At Bravo/Luis Contreras/Kevin Attard
3/Itstartswithadrink/Kazushi Kimura/Anthony Pottinger
4/Twentytwentycrest/Daisuke Fukumoto/Saul McHugh
5/Camp Creek/Rafael Hernandez/Kevin Attard
6/Tesseron/Emma-Jayne Wilson/Harold Ladouceur
7/Sine Metu/Simon Husbands/Julie Belhumeur
8/Royal Intrigue/Joanna Iglar/David Moran